Contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to get a truck driving job with no experience in South Africa.
You may have heard that you will not find a job if your licence is not older than a certain period, that’s not entirely true.
You certainly can find a driving job, assuming that you can drive properly but you just do not have experience.
This article will help someone who is confident with the steering wheel, someone who will at least not struggle to reverse a single trailer.
It is very crucial that you sharpen your reversing skills because many companies will definitely test how you back it up. That’s the biggest hurdle you will have to pass to get yourself a chance to a driving job with no experience.
You will either be tested with a triaxle or a 6 metre double axle trailer. Both these trailers are easier to reverse than the single axle trailer they use in driving schools.
Most trucking companies will test you straight reverse but don’t limit yourself when learning. Explore all reversing angles if you have a chance.
Drive manual shift trucks
You will also need to be able to drive the manual shift trucks. You have a better chance of getting a job if you can operate the 16 speed gearbox and the Eaton Fuller gearboxes. They dominate the old trucks that you will find mostly doing shorthauls.
Man F2000, Mercedes Powerliner, International, Peterbilt and many other Chinese makes all use either of the above mentioned gearboxes.
If given a choice it is important that you choose to learn how to operate any of the two or both gearboxes.
Because you are most likely going to get an old truck, marking on the gear lever may be out and that should not mean the end. Master the gear setup of each gearbox you learn. Some employers just give you the keys and expect you to drive without any explanation.
At this stage don’t concentrate on the modern smart shift gearboxes because no employer would risk his millions worth investment with a novice driver.
Be prepared to start right from the bottom. These are baby steps which form a very strong foundation of your truck driving career.
Single diff truck driving
You may approach those trucking companies who do empty container shipments, this is where most code 14 drivers start their careers from.
The employers in this bracket are not as strict as their counterparts doing long haul trips.
Smaller truck on short haul means lesser gross vehicle mass and lesser risk to yourself and other road users.
These trucks usually work around the habour area so you will acclimatise to the truck in no time.
The other advantage of the single diff trucks is that it is not a big jump from the truck you used in driving school and requires little to no adjustments.
Drive rigid trucks
For starters, it is not a bad idea at all to get a driving job for an 8 ton truck even when you have Code 14.
Some find the experience they get while driving rigid trucks very helpful when you finally get a chance on the bigger trucks.
There is a lot that you learn the moment you hit the road with any truck so don’t be choosy until you acquire the required experience and skill.
Rather get a job in a company that does not pay well, just to get experience, than opt for another career which is not rewarding. There is big money to be earned with experienced and hard working Code 14 drivers.
In conclusion, NEVER CHOOSE TO DRIVE A TAXI. You don’t gain anything that will help in your truck driving career desire. By driving a taxi you will most likely spend your whole life there without much progress in life.
What other readers say:
Werner Von Watzdorf
Very good advice. 👍
Add to that, if you drop your demands to 3.5 or 4K, you will get plenty jobs as a new driver.